The Rooster Fighter by Shu Sakuratani is an action/comedy shonen manga which has an actual hard-boiled rooster as the protagonist. The web manga originally started on Hero’s Inc.’s Comiplex back in December 2020, while the first volume was released in May 2021 in Japan. VIZ Media debuted the English version of Rooster Fighter this summer, and they’ve also given us the chance to interview the creator Shu Sakuratani about the inspiration behind the series and more.
Q: What made you choose a rooster as your battle manga protagonist? How did you come up with his personality?
To be honest, I was actually in a bit of a rut trying to come up with ideas until I came up with a rooster. I had gone through several other types of living beings, but a rooster felt like the perfect fit. When I was little, I actually had a rooster as a pet, so that may have influenced me. Once I had a rooster set as my protagonist, everything else came together quickly from there. I think I may have been influenced by the late, great actor Ken Takakura’s overwhelming yet taciturn presence. I also love Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino, so it may have influenced this series as well.
Q: Is there an underlying message you would like to send with this work or are you just having fun with it?
I’d be happy if you walked away from the series wondering if the animals around us may be living as dramatic and emotion-filled lives as we humans do. Speaking for myself, after writing a manga about animals, I have more respect for them than ever.
Q: The manga has been translated into multiple languages. How does it feel to be able to share the story with so many people from all over the world?
I’m so thankful for all of the support I receive from places all over the world. I look at every message I receive on Twitter. I had no idea this series would be so beloved. As a manga artist, there’s no greater joy than that. Thank you so much!
Q: In addition to multiple translations, Rooster Fighter also has its own NFT collection. How do you think this project reflects on your work and what do you think it has in store for the future?
I’ve had a lot of fun drawing Keiji with faces that are too absurd for the manga. I have no idea how things could change or evolve going forward, but I’m delighted that more people are engaging with my work because of it.
Q: If Rooster Fighter ever gets an anime adaptation, is there anyone you would like to hear as the voice of our feathery protagonist?
Yo Oizumi, a Japanese actor and TV personality who’s great at both serious and comedic acting. I also happen to be a huge fan, so that may be influencing my choice…laughs
We are grateful to Shu Sakuratani and VIZ Media for the opportunity to conduct this interview, and we look forward to seeing more of Rooster Fighter in the future! You can purchase the manga at VIZ Media’s website.
You can read our review of the Rooster Fighter Volume 1, and also check out the official manga trailer:
© Shu Sakuratani / HERO’S